Recent years have seen a tsunami of innovative legal technology enter the industry, changing the very face of the legal profession. Be it in law firms, corporate legal departments or courtrooms, legal technology is everywhere to be found. From AI-enabled document management to e-billing, legal technology is revolutionizing the operations of law firms globally.
Eight out of the top 10 law firms singled out technology as the leading factor in driving business growth in the PwC’s annual law survey of 2019. In the same year, the UK Law Society published a research paper titled, “Lawtech: a comparative analysis of legal technology in the UK and it other jurisdictions”, suggesting lawyers to stay abreast with the latest technological developments.
Law firms have been coming to terms with the significant impacts of automation on their overall expenses. Apart from bringing down organizational costs, automation-basedplatforms have given lawyers significant competitive advantages over their peers. Clientsthese days commonly expect lawyers to combine their immaculate legal knowledge with proficiency in technological processes.
Email correspondences have had an overhauling effect on legal communications. Due to the increased email interactions from all corners of legal spheres, the inbox is constantly buzzing with the floods of data pouring in. In this ocean of data, finding a precise information for a human eye is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.
A touch of artificial intelligence (AI) can prove really useful in circumstances when time is of great essence. Document management solutions have the capacity of sifting through the mountainous volumes of data at a galloping pace far beyond that of manual processes. Document management solutions work pretty well when it comes to application of search terms to pull out the relevant information from the document rubble at a breakneck speed saving the time and energy that would have been consumed had the process been manual rather than digital.
Document review solutions can store and share information particularly when the legal dispute calls for the required documents to be tagged and in situations where the relevancy of the documents needs to be ascertained. It has also been stipulated that proper implementation of document management processes would play a major role in streamlining witness statements at a time when courts have become receptive of technological use for disclosure purposes.
Document assembling technology is designed to be a gateway to crucial documents and information. This type of technology serves as a safe haven for lawyers and clients to exchange emails without concerns about email size restrictions. Bearing General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and confidentiality in mind, access can be given to third parties including those that provide services such as translation and disclosure. Such technology-based interactions between clients and lawyers ensures that clients are aware of litigation progress, every step of the way, which can have the effect of bringing down legal expenses.
COVID-19 has made the world stop and realize the gravity of technological novelty including remote working which has ensured business continuity. The ability to access client data and office technology remotely has afforded law firms the ability to work uninterrupted and to make sure that the efficiency barometer is not descending downwards. In the times of economic uncertainty, law firms have used legal technology solutions to deliver qualitative client service.
In fact, technology solutions aiding remote working might have helped law firms in improving their efficiency levels given the fact that legal personnel are delivering optimal work product while doing justice to their work-life balance
While legal technology has played their part in law firms’ business continuity, lawyers must always pay heed to the fact that such continuity must not come at the cost of data security or compromise the firm’s IT infrastructure in any manner or form. Therefore, the onus is upon lawyers to make sure that their law firms and clients are not exposed to online threats and that the cybersecurity of their devices are beefed up so that data sharing is not vulnerable to unauthorized access.
Intensified accuracy and increased productivity will only work towards propelling law firms’ business growth. Legal technology and software powered by artificial intelligence can definitely assist in that regard but one must always be aware that any technologically intelligent process is about as good as the mechanism by which it was designed, operated and introduced to data. It will not be prudent for law firms to develop a total dependency on technology, or to expect it to work independently. A good application of legal technology is one that mixes automation and AI with skilled, human lawyers.
The nature of legal practice is also characterized by the relationships that are fostered between clients and lawyers, fueled by trust. This human element of legal practice cannot be substituted by any technological process, no matter how intelligent or advanced it may be.
Though remote working has come into its own in 2020 and has taken away some of the dreaded portions of daily life such as commute to work, it must be said that officeinteractions often involves a valuable exchange of ideas and assortment of work culture which has held its own against the test of time for many decades.
Considering the above, AI-enabled legal technology have definitely made the life of law firms and lawyers easier by automating many monotonous routine tasks, especially in mid- and back-office operations. Phenomenal cost-effective results only bear testimony to the fact that the future of the legal profession will be determined by a collaboration between human intellect and technological novelty.
Clients are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and law firms and lawyers need to follow suit. Lawyers have always been amenable to adapting their work practices per the sands of time and even though their initial apprehension towards technology is seldom hidden, the realization that the future of legal operations rests in technological collaboration is rarely lost upon them. The future of law is one intertwined with technology.